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North Korea has called high-level talks with a U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "extremely regrettable", contradicting Washington's account of how the meeting in Pyongyang went.

Skepticism has grown over how and whether North Korea will dismantle its nuclear weapons program amid USA media reports that the country has continued to develop nuclear facilities.

In a statement from the North's Foreign Ministry spokesman, the North bashed what it called "unilateral and gangster-like" USA demands for denuclearization, adding that it jeopardizes the commitments made at last month's summit with President Donald Trump.

Nauert said "progress was made" in the meetings Saturday morning, and Pompeo was expected to have more meetings in the afternoon.

"However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting [between the countries] was no doubt regrettable", the spokesperson added. "But this expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be gullible".

North Korea says it is disappointed with the way the USA has conducted itself in bilateral discussions, saying that the progress made at last month's historic summit in Singapore is in danger of being eroded.

Speaking to pool reporters before leaving the DPRK, Pompeo said the two men had spent "a good deal of time" on the topic of North Korea's denuclearization.

"Chairman Kim is still committed, I had a chance to speak to President Trump this morning".

"The high-level talks this time brought us in a unsafe situation where we may be shaken in our unshakable will for denuclearisation, rather than consolidating trust between the DPRK and the U.S.". "Some places a great deal of progress, other places there's still more work to be done".

The downbeat assessment, so different to one Pompeo had offered reporters a few hours earlier, suggested - as Korea analysts had feared - that the two sides remain far apart on their goals for talks on denuclearisation despite Pompeo's past comments and Trump's comments after his June meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The countries also agreed to create working groups that will be overseen by Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines who has handled some lower-level discussions, to work out what State Department spokeswoman called the "nitty gritty details" of future talks.

"We did have very serious discussions on very important matters yesterday", Kim said. "But Washington should not allow nuclear talks to be held hostage to peace talks or else there could be peace with a nuclear-armed North Korea indefinitely".

In practical terms, Pompeo mentioned only that officials from both sides would meet on July 12 to discuss the repatriation of the remains of some U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

"We still cherish our good faith in President Trump", the spokesman said. "The US still believes North Korea will denuclearize substantially before we give them any major rewards, while North Korea believes that the two need to move together jointly, and both make concessions".

Pompeo, however, said that more talks were needed on both.

"The Kim regime wouldn't want to be seen as if they were somehow being pressured to cave in to the US' demands", he said. Following the meeting, Trump expressed optimism about denuclearization in North Korea.

"There are things that I have to clarify as well", Pompeo responded. "(It) will take place at the border and that process will begin to develop over the days that follow", he said as he boarded his plane for Tokyo.

Speculation has been rife that the US might have eased its demand for the North because it recently started calling for "the final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD)" of North Korea, instead of CVID, a key phrase jointly used by the United States, South Korea and Japan.

Also high on the agenda is the issue of the remains of US soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War.

The alleged gift came after the song became a point of discussion for Trump and Kim during their summit in Singapore last month.


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